BY TOM ANZELC
This past week the Minnesota House of Representatives unanimously passed its first bill of the legislative session — a bill to reduce taxes for middle class families.
In today’s political climate of gridlock and gamesmanship, I’m glad legislators from both sides of the aisle came together to put the best interests of the people of Minnesota first.
HF6 conforms our state’s tax system to changes passed in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which allows an estimated 200,000 Minnesotans, including teachers, students, homeowners and seniors, to file their state taxes with more convenience and with a greater tax benefit.
Late enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 by Congress created potential problems for Minnesota taxpayers. If Minnesota does not conform with the new federal changes, each taxpayer who claims any of the affected deductions will need to file a special form to calculate their Minnesota income tax liability. By conforming to the new changes, Minnesotans will likely not need to change forms and taxpayers can file without making additional adjustments.
According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, more than 250,000 Minnesotans would benefit from federal tax conformity, including: 55,000 teachers who claim the $250 educator expense deduction; 90,000 homeowners who claim an itemized deduction for mortgage insurance premiums; 60,000 students or parents of students who take up to $4,000 for the higher education tuition and fee deduction; unknown number of seniors who would need to recalculate the amount of Social Security benefits taxable in Minnesota, exceeding the amount taxed federally because they would not qualify for the IRA distributions to public charities if age 70 1/2 or older.
I’m hopeful our colleagues in the Senate will follow suit so we can get a final bill on Gov. Dayton’s desk as soon as possible.
As the legislative session continues, please continue sending me feedback, comments and ideas. I depend on your input to make well-informed decisions about the big challenges facing our state. I serve on four important committees: Taxes, Education Finance, Commerce and Consumer Protection, and the Ways and Means Committee, where I serve as vice chair.
You can reach me by phone at 651-296-4936, by email at email@example.com, or by postal mail at 517 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.
(Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, represents House District 5B, which includes Pine River, Backus and Chickamaw Beach, and McKinley, Bull Moose, Pine River, Barclay, Deerfield, Powers and Ponto Lake townships in Cass County, as well as other parts of Cass and Itasca counties.)